On the evening of Wednesday, May 14, 2014, a very special Eagle Scout court of honor was held by Troop 1262, whose Scouts are Burmese refugees. When giving the opening prayer, Scout Thing Soe petitioned the Lord to “help me remember to do good and to resist the temptation to do bad things.”
What program teaches young boys and young men to “remember to do
good and resist the temptation to do bad things”—especially if they are recent refugees from Burma living in Salt Lake City, Utah?
The answer: Scouting!
Four years ago a Scout troop was formed in a small Burmese refugee branch in central Salt Lake City. Today there are 84 registered Burmese Scouts and this week 11 of the 84 Scouts received their Eagle Scout Award.
Rick Barnes, Scout executive for the Great Salt Lake Council, asked the
question “What does Scouting do for boys?”
1. It prepares them for life.
2. It helps them become good citizens.
3. It helps them believe in God.
4. It prepares them to make ethical and moral choices instilling in them the objectives of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.
5. It helps them be good to others.
Saw Po Dah, a newly awarded Eagle Scout, was asked to comment on his journey to become an Eagle Scout. He said,
“My Scouting experience has been very fun, but also very challenging. Scouting has helped me build confidence and courage. When I went to Scout camp I was pushed into the water. All I could think was, ‘I’m dead’!”
“Swimming was hard for me. I was scared of the water. With encouragement from my leader, Brother Nebeker, I learned to swim and got my Swimming merit badge. It ended up being my favorite merit badge.”
“Scouting has shaped my life. I am a better young man because of it. It has helped me in school. Because of Scouting, I have better grades. Scouting is fun. Thank you to all the leaders that have helped me.”
“Getting my Eagle has helped prepare me to face challenges in my life.”
Brother David Beck, Young Men general president, was the concluding speaker. He admonished the Scouts to follow the example of President Thomas S. Monson, who has found joy in serving others. He said, “Many boys are watching you. Remember in Section 115 of the Doctrine and Covenants: ‘Verily I say unto you all: Arise and shine forth, that thy light may be a standard for the nations.’ You are a light. You be that light. You have accomplished great things in your life. I bear testimony the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the key to happiness.”
At the conclusion of the court of honor the eleven new Eagle Scouts stood and shouted:
“We are the Young Men,
Mighty, mighty young men.
We come from Burma.
How about you?”
Contributed by Dana Wiest